Alan Abel, a Complete Weed Control franchisee for over 30 years, gives his thoughts for 2014.
The whole year kicks off again with the annual pilgrimage to BTME and Harrogate. It's so hard to believe 12 months have passed so quickly.
At least those months have on the whole been kind to turf managers. As Christmas and New Year celebrations happen, the weather has taken a turn for the worse and again sports facilities across the country are saturated with winter rains.
With so much top class rugby and football action to fit in during the depths of winter, it again falls to the groundsmen to toil against the elements to keep sporting events a possibility.
Temperatures are high, and many grasses have been struggling to know if they are going to shut down or not, due to the odd very cold night followed by maybe a few into double figures.
This has led to anaemic looking swards that have needed a pep-up to keep them strong against disease, especially fusarium that has been particularly strong in the run up to the New Year.
Iprodione has been used extensively during the past month to try and keep the menace at bay.
Groundsmen have also been using fertilizers and iron to try and keep grasses looking healthy and giving nutrients to help them through the particularly wet and mild prevailing conditions.
On pre-Christmas visits to clients, it was notable how many had sprayed against leatherjackets and had been amazed by the populations there were in fine turf. During the 2013 late summer there were clouds of daddy long legs that flew up when one walked through grass areas.
Some of these laid thousands of eggs and these leatherjackets are doing untold damage underground and under our noses that only manifests when it's too late.
Therefore, an Insurance Policy application of CYREN @ 1.5 litres per hectare with a wetter and water buffer is an economical and cost effective way of protecting precious swards.
It should also be noted that a second application also brought many grubs to the surface, as the problem seems to have changed cycle and appears to be an all year round threat.
Moss is rearing its ugly head again in all types of swards. We are quite impotent when it comes to its treatment.
There are products on the market, but we all remember dichlorophen with affection!
It's no longer available and we have products such as JEWEL (carfentrazone / mecoprop) from Everris that will control mosses and weeds as a double action. It's better to wait till good growing conditions before application.
MOGETON (quinoclamine) from Certis is available to use on golf greens with application only through a watering can at high water volumes. It is effective and where silvermoss is the problem, then this product must be the choice.
Iron products at high rates are available and should be used in conjunction with light scarification where possible, two weeks following applications, to give the iron a chance to work. This particularly appertains to golf fairways.
With the wet weather, worms become a nuisance, and every worm cast is a potential seed bed for a weed to set. (We can talk selective weed control later in the season!)
Therefore using carbendazim @ 4 litres per hectare and combining this with Cyren (as discussed), gives a double control of worms and leatherjackets.
I reckon part of the reason years seem to go quicker is that when you are involved in outdoor type industries, you are always thinking of a few months down the line.
At this time we are all thinking about spring and what that may bring. Preparing for spring by getting sports fields, bowling greens, cricket tables etc. soil sampled, will stand you in good stead by seeing exactly what nourishment the ground requires.
This means fore-warned is fore-armed and ready to get the sports surface up to top standard as soon as the weather allows.
At Complete Weed Control; we can help and provide application services with everything discussed in this article including facilitating soil samples.
All our team are Amenity Assured and details can be found on our website. If the weather gets wintry and cold, Complete Ice Control can also spread salt and snow clear where necessary.
We wish you all a Happy New Year and enjoy BTME. Be sure to visit our Stand.
For further information visit: www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk